Investigation Into Dollar Ridge Fire Continues, So Far “Undetermined”

Aug 11, 2018, 5:24 PM | Updated: 10:04 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s natural for us as humans to want to know why things happen. Or, in the case of wildfires, how they happened.

Dozens of homes were lost in the Dollar Ridge Fire last month. Firefighters continue to try and contain the fire. It has burned 62,300 acres and 90% contained.

However, for the residents who continue to be affected by the fire and the flooding that followed, they want to know how it started in the first place.

“Usually, we’re able to figure it out and in this case it’s just frustrating,” said Jason Curry, who is a fire investigator.

Curry is with Utah’s Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands and the Dollar Ridge Fire is one of the fires he is investigating this fire season.

However, when it comes to the Dollar Ridge Fire, so far, the cause is undetermined.

“We get fires every year that we say are undetermined because there’s not enough evidence, there are no witnesses, and in a very remote area like this one is,” said Curry.

When the fire started July 1st, crews on the first helicopter that arrived took photos to possibly help with the investigation.

“The remoteness of this area, you would have been able to see somebody either hiking out or riding out of that area because there are no roads. There are no real trails that lead into that spot. It’s just very remote, so it’s mysterious,” said Curry.

Since no lightning was detected in the area, fire managers believed the fire to be human caused, which could mean intentional or unintentional.

However, with no human evidence, it’s tough to make an exact cause determination.

“In Utah, we’re very fortunate. We don’t have a lot of intentional acts starting our wildfires. Usually, it’s something that’s less than intentional,” said Curry. “Is it possible that it was some other natural cause, like rock fall or lightning that wasn’t detected? That’s something we’re circling back to.”

That’s the difficult, and sometimes frustrating, part about wildfire investigations.

Curry has solved many of them, but the Dollar Ridge Fire, especially with all that was lost, is one he’d really like to know.

“It’s frustrating to have the investigation have zero results,” said Curry. “Especially one that takes homes and impacts communities the way the Dollar Ridge Fire did.”

The investigation is still open, though, and Curry is asking anybody with any information to contact the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office or the Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re looking for any more information, if anybody has any,” he said

Burned cabin and property Burned Cabin Burned hillside Burned land Dollar Ridge Damage Dollar Ridge Fire burning by highway 40 Fire crews Jason Curry
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Investigation Into Dollar Ridge Fire Continues, So Far “Undetermined”